A San Diego man accused of opening fire at a Poway synagogue apparently purchased his weapon at a local gun store. That information comes from search warrants unsealed Wednesday morning in connection with the investigation.
The warrants reveal investigators found a “gun receipt and paperwork” that indicate shooter John Earnest purchased the rifle at “San Diego Guns.” A business by that name is located on Mission Gorge Road.
On Wednesday, the owner of San Diego Guns, Dallas Martensen, declined to comment on the new details.
The warrants also reveal officers found the Smith and Wesson M&P-15 rifle in the suspect’s car, along with five loaded magazines and a black helmet with a GoPro camera attached.
Law enforcement gathered evidence in the hours and days after Earnest attacked the Chabad of Poway on April 27, 2019. The shooting killed one worshipper and injured three other people, including the synagogue’s rabbi.
Investigators also served search warrants at California State University San Marcos and Mount Carmel High School, two schools that Earnest attended. Officers also obtained surveillance footage from the Chabad of Poway and served warrants on Facebook and AT&T Wireless for electronic records.
The unsealing of the search warrants come after a coalition of San Diego media organizations filed a motion for the document’s release. Those media organizations included NBC 7, the San Diego Union-Tribune, KFMB, Fox 5, and the Associated Press.
Hours after Earnest allegedly attacked the Chabad of Poway, investigators obtained the first of 17 search warrants to gather evidence. They immediately searched Earnest’s car and home, and obtained records from Facebook, Google, and cell phone providers.
Investigators also reviewed his purchase history on Amazon. It showed he bought tactical equipment, including a helmet before the attack.
The new search warrants shed new light on how the shooter may have obtained the assault-style weapon. According to search warrants, then 19-year-old Earnest purchased the gun the day before the Chabad of Poway shooting for $963.41.
Some questioned how Earnest purchased the gun, given a new California law that went into effect January 1, 2019, banning anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a firearm. The law does have some exceptions.
“If you have a hunting license that’s valid from the state of Califronia, then you can purchase a rifle or shotgun,” said Michael Schwartz, Executive Director for San Diego County Gun Owners PAC.
According to the warrants, San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies found a “hunting certificate” in Earnest’s bedroom.